Our Top Picks For May

Is there anything more beautiful than the Seattle garden in May? Although every month has its special beauty, the May garden is bursting with new foliage and blooms. It is abundance and freshness, with the promise of summer to come. Here are a few of our favorites for the month of May.



Just bursting into bloom in early May, these lovely perennials come in bush and tree form. Tons of colors and blossom styles for every taste. Learn more about growing peonies here.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 12”-7’ tall and 12”-5’ wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms May - June




One of the most beautiful and classic garden plants. From frilly and romantic to bold and bright, roses come in a never-ending array of colors and shapes. Their blossoms will bring out the romantic in anyone. More about rose care here.

  • Full sun

  • Well-drained soil

  • 2”-8” tall and 12”-3’ wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms May - late fall




These brightly-colored rockery plants introduce spring with a bang. Flowers appear on stalks above succulent evergreen foliage. Prefer very well-draining soil.

  • Full to part sun

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 8”-12” tall and wide

  • Blooms mid-spring - summer



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To brighten up a shady spot, you can’t beat begonias. Their ruffled blossoms come in a variety of bold and pastel colors and their unusual leaves add sculptural interest in the garden or in pots.

  • Part shade or shade

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 6”-2’ tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms late spring - first frost




These delicate woodland flowers appreciate dappled shade. With at least 5 dozen species, there are plenty of styles to choose from. Freely self-seeds.

  • Part shade

  • Well-drained soil

  • Foliage to 15”, flowers to 30” tall and wide. 

  • Blooms mid-spring - early summer



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The summer garden isn’t complete without geraniums. Choose from classic geraniums, fancy-leaf varieties with stunning foliage, geraniums with scented leaves, or Martha Washington geraniums, which have stiff-leafed branches up to 2’ high and marked flowers (such as the variety pictured above).

  • Full sun

  • Well-drained soil; let dry between waterings

  • 5”-24” tall and 12”-15” wide, depending on variety.

  • Blooms May - fall




Another great choice for the shade garden. Fuchsias are also the meal of choice for hummingbirds! Choose from a variety of colors. They make excellent hanging baskets.

  • Part shade to shade

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 12”-4’ tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms May - fall




It’s tomato time! Grow your own and you’ll never want to sample a grocery store tomato again. From sweet cherry tomatoes to more heirloom varieties, give them sun, warmth, and water, and you will be rewarded. Learn more about growing tomatoes in the PNW and how to plant a tomato.

  • Full Sun

  • Moist, well-drained soil

  • 6”-36” tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Plant April - May; harvest July - September




Tall spires of lush flowers and dewdrop-catching leaves make lupine a star in the garden. Purple shades abound and look out for unique color combos like this bi-color specimen.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Water and fertilize regularly

  • 12”-5’ tall and wide, depending upon variety

  • Blooms May - mid-summer

We’d love to help you choose something perfect for your individual space, whether in person or on social media using #heyswansons!